Posts filed under Status Quo

The Conditions of Uncertainty-Challenges

Visionmakers believe that Challenges, the first condition of uncertainty, are necessary if one is to grow into their full potential. Without a Challenge we are prey for the status quo which seeks to seduce us into a state of lethargy. Lethargic people are mostly unconscious.  They never notice that their life is being sucked out of them just to feed the voracious appetite of stasis.  

Visionmakers recognize Challenge as a chance to escape the gravity field of convention and cross into the future where one is no longer restricted and restrained by conventions of the past. This crossing, however, is demanding. One must be ready for the tests of heart, intellect and will that are unleashed by the atmosphere of creative tension, the atmosphere that accompanies Challenges and uncertainty.


As outlined in my post of December 9, 2008 entitled The Initiatory Nature of a Challenge, there are four essential functions that Challenges play in transformation:


• Challenges call forward our personal powers – including gifts, talents, character qualities, skills, aptitudes, knowledge, resourcefulness and creativity;


• They help us develop new personal powers;


• They teach "right application" of these resources;


• They expose that which requires change or strengthening in our nature.


Pretty efficient vehicle for empowerment! How we respond in the creative tension of a Challenge can often tell us more about who we really are than years of contemplation.


Many of us retired from the field of Challenges years go, preferring security and safety on the sidelines. Or, we chose certain predictable and controllable  "challenges" like professional advancement to avoid other real Challenges, like emotional maturation through relationship.


Real Challenges are never predictable or controllable.  They are tests of the heart, intellect and will and always carry problems, difficulties, tests and provocation. Challenges are a summons to our excellence.


Our response to challenge depends on our readiness. We must be willing to see Challenges as the inevitable encounter with the unfolding future and forget about shoring up our hiding place within the status quo. No matter how many defenses we erect, Challenge will be there waiting for us just on the other side of the false barricade we have erected, laying siege to our artifices.


Ultimately, Challenges faced and overcome provide a sense of being fully alive, engaged and well matched for the journey of meaning that we have been born to make. To a Visionmaker, a journey without Challenge is dull, boring and tedious. That is not a description of Visionmaking; it is a description of the status quo.


Welcome the first condition of Uncertainty into your life. Challenges are opportunities to leave who you think you are in the furrow to claim who you are destined to be.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on July 2, 2009 and filed under Status Quo, Uncertainty.

The Cradle of Original Vision

There is a fallacy about vision that is important to expose. Many believe that original vision is an innate gift that few are born with. Visionmakers believe otherwise.  

Visionmakers believe that everyone is born with the gift of original vision. Few people, however, are willing to develop that gift. It can be an uncomfortable process. Most of us don't like to be uncomfortable. It's irritating and demands attention be diverted from maintaining the status quo, that comfort zone that allows us to maintain our routinized engagement with life. That's where the average person spends a majority of their waking hours, in routines. Few are actually present to the unfolding mystery that surrounds us!


Visionmakers develop a tolerance for creative tension, that perceptual stretching required to develop original vision to its potential. Creative tension is the cradle of original vision. It requires that we face the future without a guarantee of success. That can be uncomfortable, especially when experiencing the products of creative tension–uncertainty, paradox, challenges, problems, confusion, chaos, ambiguity, change, and new possibilities.


These ten conditions, however, stimulate us to reach within ourselves to expand our vision. Over the next several weeks, I will be looking at these ten conditions as the cradle of original vision. Thank you for visiting Visions. Your insights and comments are welcome as always.


©Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved

Posted on June 19, 2009 and filed under Crisis, Status Quo, Uncategorized.

The Flame of Perseverance

Many people are asking for help facing the uncertainty and volatility of present conditions. Stress is everywhere. Businesses are failing, many because of greed and mismanagement. This post attempts to provide some support to those that have suffered setbacks at this time.  

This is a time of character. Because our current circumstances have resulted from a deficit of character, we are being asked as individuals and as a society to come to another level of character excellence. We have entered a collective, initiatory crucible.


One test of character that we must demonstrate we are capable of meeting is Perseverance. Perseverance is the ability to maintain forward progress towards our dreams despite obstacles, challenges and setbacks. Perseverance is the gumption to overcome fear, loss, fatigue, suffering, disappointment and illness. This demands a strong heart supported by a strong will. 


The Greek dramatist, Euripedes suggests: "To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man (or woman). The coward despairs." (The addition in brackets is mine.)


Every journey of meaning will contain stretches that test the Visionmaker's courage to the point of choosing whether to quit or continue. There will be temptation after temptation to quit as part of the status quo's concerted effort to rid the world of one more Visionmaker. The seduction sounds so reasonable:


"You gave it your best shot..."


"It's an idea the world isn't ready for..."


"The game is rigged..."


"Better to try a less risky, less difficult path..."


"You can't change the world..."


The Flame of Perseverance comes to those who are more committed to the journey of meaning than they are to fear. It is a refuge and a light during times of darkness and doubt. Turning his or her back to the status quo's insistent campaign to have us quit, the Visionmaker turns to the flame and continues the journey undaunted. 


Setting our sights on the next step, we move forward repeating the mantra:


"Commitment...take the next step."

"Persistence...take the next step."

"Resilience...take the next step."

"Patience...take the next step."

"Hope...take the next step."


"Drop by drop collected will make a river," writes Sa'di, the great Persian poet. "Rivers upon rivers will make a sea." And so it is with pursuing a journey of meaning: one purposeful act at a time. Perseverance delivers the greatest success in the face of overwhelming odds. Take the next step.


©Patrick O'Neill 2009. All rights reserved.

Posted on June 10, 2009 and filed under Crisis, Status Quo.

True Seeing

"The true seeing is within."-George Eliot


The Visionmaker's way is to pursue what is most meaningful in our aspirations, vocation, relationships and involvement in the communities in which we participate.


These are all matters of the heart. It is the heart that directs every Visionmaker towards meaning.


As you will recall from previous posts, Visionmaking is the discipline of following meaning through a journey of purposeful acts. Purposeful acts are the output of heart, intellect and will working together to exert change.


This requires clear focus and all of our energy, so it is important that we reflect regularly on what is most meaningful.


The most significant barrier to this practice is the status quo. The status quo seeks to arrest transformation and positive change. It is the state of mind that every Visionmaker opposes.


In Visionmaking, the status quo is defined as a state of stasis where there is neither motion or development and where there is little hope of change. It's like psychic cement.


The status quo can be overturned by reflection, commitment and action. Without reflection, however, clarity, commitment and action are hard to marshal.


Reflective practice is the Visionmaker's way of taking stock of what has heart and meaning and overcoming the status quo.  It demands discipline and practice. Morning and evening are the traditional times to look to the heart for guidance.


This can be accomplished almost anywhere that there is silence and no distraction.  Reflection can be done seated, standing, lying, even walking.  The more you practice, the better you get.


I hope the following reflective questions support you in seeing what is in your heart:


• What is currently most meaningful to you in your relationships, work, well-being, personal development, spirituality, and community service?


• What are you yearning for in your life that you have not yet experienced?


• In what areas do you feel trapped by the status quo?


• What do you need to start/stop/continue to do to break free of this illusion of being trapped?


• Where are you currently deeply engaged in your life? Where do you feel half-hearted? What do you need to do to restore full engagement?


I welcome you insights, questions and comments. Thank you for visiting Visions.


© Patrick O’Neill 2009. All rights reserved.


Posted on April 8, 2009 and filed under Status Quo.